When you think about mechanics, you picture a repairman lugging around numerous tools and an OBD scanner – someone who works to repair your car and return it back to perfect working condition. However, the cars these professionals work on are typically conventional gas-powered ones – so how will the rise of electric cars affect them? Will they have to shut shop?
Electric cars won’t put mechanics out of business. However, the widespread uptake of EVs will disrupt the industry. The repairs users require on electric vehicles differ greatly from what’s needed with a standard combustible engine vehicle. That said, mechanics who can adapt will always remain relevant.
The rest of the article will look at why mechanics will always remain relevant and how electric vehicles will significantly change the scope of their jobs. We’ll also look at the type of training modern-day mechanics will need to remain relevant in the future.
- Why Electric Cars Won’t Put Mechanics Out of Business
- How Electric Car Repairs Will Differ
- What Will Today’s Mechanics Have To Learn To Stay Relevant in an EV World?
- EV Speedy’s Take
Why Electric Cars Won’t Put Mechanics Out of Business
One of the reasons why we’re seeing doom and gloom about job security for mechanics is the rising uptake of EVs around the country and worldwide.
Multiple countries and vehicle manufacturers recently formed a coalition agreeing to stop sales and manufacture of combustion engine vehicles by 2040. The UK, in particular, announced a ban on the sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.
With all of these in mind, it’s understandable that mechanics may be worried about their industry’s viability within a decade or two. However, looking at the situation beyond the alarming headlines, it’s clear mechanics have no reason to panic – especially if they are willing to move with the times. Here’s why.
Electric Vehicles Won’t Become the Majority Anytime Soon
The cheapest electric vehicles in the market today cost between $28,000 and $30,000. That’s a lot of money for most people, even when leasing the vehicle rather than buying it outright.
This is especially true when you take the size of the EVs into account. A standard-sized EV sedan will set you back about $35,000-$40,000 at the lower end of the scale – which is over 100% more expensive than the cheapest petrol and diesel sedans!
Given the current prices, we’re unlikely to see EVs become the majority in the market over the next few decades. More people will stick to buying the cheapest cars they can find, and these are likely to be petrol vehicles. Therefore, today’s mechanics will continue to see numerous conventional cars entering their shops for the foreseeable future.
Country Bans Are Taking Effect Very Slowly
As mentioned above, many countries have committed to a deadline of 2040 to end the sale of new gasoline cars. However, the ban doesn’t stop people from buying used petrol vehicles or driving petrol vehicles bought before the deadline.
It might take another couple of decades after the deadlines take effect for people to stop buying combustible engines completely, and even longer for the oldest petrol cars to be completely phased off the streets.
Until that happens, mechanics will continue to see more combustible engines enter their lot than electric vehicles.
Electric Vehicles Will Still Need Repairs
Electric vehicles suffer wear and tear like any other car. For example, tires will need replacing, HVAC units may start acting up, and seats may need readjustment or repairs.
The type of repair works to be done on an EV will differ from what you’d see on standard combustible engine vehicles. However, this doesn’t mean the work won’t exist – and when the vehicle does break down, a mechanic will still get the call.
Speaking of repairs, check out this related article that I wrote about the Best Tire Repair Kits for Every Tesla Model. This post in is one of the most-read on this entire blog.
How Can Mechanics Learn To Repair EVs?
The car repair industry has changed a great deal over the years, and savvy mechanics and their protégés have continued to evolve with it.
For example, in the past, mechanics had to engage in a lot of trial and error to pinpoint faults in vehicles, and there was a lot of manual labor involved. Today, diagnostic kits can uncover problems within seconds, and there are numerous machines available to take the grunt work out of a mechanic’s job.
Similarly, mechanics only need to evolve with the times by adding an understanding of EVs and an ability to work on them to their portfolio. Unfortunately, most mechanics are still behind the times.
A 2018 report in the UK says 97% of mechanics are not qualified to work on EVs. Some mechanics choose to turn away EVs in the US rather than learn how to work on them. If that behavior remains widespread and continues for another 3 to 4 decades, mechanics should be worried.
However, if we’ve learned anything about the industry in the past, it’s that it will always evolve. Today’s mechanics will likely retire before EVs become the majority, and newer mechanics will be more willing to learn.
They’ll also have grown up with EVs – which means they’ll have the knowledge required to work on both newer cars and older combustible engines.
How Electric Car Repairs Will Differ
As mentioned above, repairs for electric cars are often much different than those for conventional cars. Some of the ways in which this is true include:
- Reduction in minor maintenance. In a traditional gasoline car, drivers have to get regular oil and filter changes, transmission and brake fluid change, replacement of belts, chains, gaskets, etc. Such minor maintenance is unnecessary or more infrequent in an EV.
- More focus on the battery pack than on countless moving parts. A standard gasoline car relies on an elaborate network of moving parts to function. In an EV, the battery pack is the bedrock of all processes. Maintaining the battery pack will be the crux of most repair jobs.
- More OTA repairs. Brands like Tesla have demonstrated how EVs can be repaired via over the air (OTA) updates. With more widespread adoption, mechanics can work on EV cars remotely.
|Combustion Engine Car||Electric Car|
|Regular Maintenance Required||Tire maintenance Emissions checks Brake pads and rotor checks/replacement Checks/replacement of belts, hoses chains, gaskets, etc. The transmission fluid change Oil change Filter change Brake fluid, coolant change||Tire rotation Coolant flushing Cabin air filter replacement|
|General Maintenance Schedule||Every 3,000-5,000 miles (4,828.03-8,046.72 km)||Tire rotation every 7,500 miles (12,070.08 km) Coolant flushing every 150,000 miles (241,401.6 km). Cabin air filter replacement every 20,000 miles (32,186.88 km)|
What Will Today’s Mechanics Have To Learn To Stay Relevant in an EV World?
In order to stay relevant in an EV world, today’s mechanics will need training in IT-based skills. Ideally, they will need to have a mix of conventional IT support personnel skills and a sound car mind. They will also need to learn more about the electronics in a standard EV.
For instance, the battery pack is the main driver of all the processes in an EV. For a better understanding of how these batteries work, take a look at this YouTube video:
An ordinary mechanic will need specialized training with qualified OEM technicians to understand important elements in the battery, such as the balance in cell capacity and battery chemistry.
They’ll also need to be trained in how to handle problems with the battery, such as restoring battery power balance and diagnosing problems.
EV Speedy’s Take
If you’re a young mechanic with decades of active employment ahead of you, you should consider learning how to repair EVs alongside gasoline engines.
By having a holistic understanding of both types of vehicles, you can ensure your skills will always be in demand.
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